The Washington Times - January 3, 2008, 07:59PM

\ 8 p.m. — Reporting from Des Moines, the caucus just started. Sen. Hillary Clinton has most visible support, but the rest are falling in line as the polls would suggest.\ \ \ Organizers say the turnout was so heavy that it was taking people longer than expected to find parking. \ \ \ They did the final count and it’s 161, surpassing the high of 100 people that precinct chairman Suzette Jensen had predicted earlier today.\ \ \ People are excited and organized.\ \ \ \ Also worth noting, there are people sitting in the three pews reserved for former Sen. Mike Gravel.\

\ UPDATE/ 8:41 p.m.: After the first round, Clinton had 56, Edwards had 45 and Obama had 39. Biden, Dodd and Richardson weren’t viable. Richardson’s 17 people joined up with Obama’s 39, prompting a chant-off.\


\ In the second round, Clinton was leading with 57, Obama came in next with 54 and Edwards had 48. The Biden group held out for a few minutes, prompting the remaining viable candidates to shout and cajole them. They joined up with the Obama group.\

\ UPDATE/8:50 p.m.: Third round count had 58 for Clinton, 56 for Obama and 49 for Edwards. My colleague S.A. Miller is at a nearby caucus that hasn’t concluded yet. He reports that Edwards has 45, Clinton has 43 and Obama has 37. He says the Richardson and Edwards folks are trying to cut a deal. \

\ UPDATE/8:55 p.m.:Final results as they awarded delegates: Clinton wins 3 delegates, Obama and Edwards win 2 each. \

\ UPDATE/9 p.m.: It’s also worth mentioning that there was very little policy persuasion going on here. Instead, the campaigns cheered loudly to convince the nonviable voters to join there side. There were no impassioned speeches about the Iraq war, universal health care mandates or trading off on convention delegates. \

\ But at precinct 31 at the Brubaker Elementary School library, where Miller is reporting, real arguments are under way. “There is too much at stake to go with someone without the experience,” Edwards supporter Carla Kuhlman warned Richardson’s group as she tried to persuade them.\

\ Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times